By Will Vandervort
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has never met Florida State’s Jameis Winston, but he has a lot of respect for the Seminoles’ quarterback.
“He is a going to be a ridiculous player,” Boyd said following Clemson’s 24-14 victory over Boston College Saturday.
Next Saturday’s matchup with what should be a top 5 Florida State team should be just as ridiculous.
With the exception of a little bump against the same BC team that nearly derailed the Tigers undefeated train, the Seminoles have cruised to a 5-0 record. Now rested and playing with loads of confidence, FSU comes to Death Valley next week with divisional, conference and national championship aspirations on the line.
“That’s why you play in college football, and that’s what you want to do as a player to get in these games that matter,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We’re very blessed to be there and to have a great opponent like Clemson.”
The Tigers (6-0, 4-0 ACC) are blessed to be here too, especially after trailing for three quarters against Boston College before defensive end Vic Beasley and the defense sealed the game with his 13-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Though Clemson outgained the Eagles (3-3, 1-2) 496 to 286 and got 344 passing yards from Boyd, it could not shake the pesky team from Chestnut Hill. Where the Tigers overlooking them and looking ahead to the FSU game? Maybe.
“The energy was not there, but that’s no excuse,” defensive tackle Brady Jarrett said. “We have to bring it every game no matter who the opponent is, but getting this one out of the way, I feel like the energy will be a lot better next week.
“I’ll admit we were a little flat, but that’s no excuse at all.”
With ESPN’s Game Day coming to down for a second time this season and another primetime matchup on ABC with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit calling the game, and, of course, a darn good Florida State team coming to town, no one on Clemson’s team should be flat next Saturday.
The Seminoles, who bring in the ACC’s best offense from a statistical standpoint and arguably the best defense, have been getting it done with a freshman quarterback who has turned the country upside down, similar to the way a guy by the name of Charlie Ward did 20 years ago down in Tallahassee.
“They are a very talented team,” Jarrett said. “Their quarterback is doing a really good job in his first year, but we feel like we can get the job done and we look forward to the challenge. We feel like it is going to be a real good game.”
Boyd, who is usually jovial and relaxed around the media following a game, seemed agitated after the BC game. It was almost as if he was called out or challenged to come out and guide the offense better than he did on Saturday when he put the ball on the ground twice and failed to execute when it mattered most.
“We had some opportunities. We made some plays, but we self-destructed on some plays,” he said. “It was nothing Boston College did it was more of what we did so we have to continue to keep on working.”
And now he has to do it against “Famous Jameis” Winston, who has been stealing all of Boyd’s headlines and the spotlight through the first six weeks of the season.
The freshman’s numbers to this point can rival the third-year starter at Clemson. He ranks second to Boyd in both passing yards, passing average and total offense, while he leads the ACC in passing efficiency and touchdown passes.
So this week will not be about just Clemson and Florida State, but the winning quarterback gets the inside track to maybe ACC Player of the Year honors and the Heisman Trophy.
“I can’t wait for it. I can’t wait for it,” Boyd said. “I love big games and I love playing in the Valley. It is going to be an exciting one.”
Yes it is.